Bracket Watch: Clemson's latest NCAA Tournament projections


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Bracket Watch: Clemson's latest NCAA Tournament projections

With about a month of ACC regular-season action to go, Brad Brownell’s Tigers have compiled one of the best NCAA Tournament resumes in the league.

Over the weekend, Clemson moved up to No. 4 in the RPI rankings after adding a seventh win away from Littlejohn Coliseum (75-67 over Wake Forest), and previous-RPI No. 4 Duke dropped its second game versus an RPI Group 2 opponent* (81-77 loss at Saint John’s, No. 94 in RPI; also lost at Boston College, RPI of 79), which is a group Clemson is 14-0 versus this season.

The Tigers (19-4, 8-3 ACC) also transitioned into a solo spot at No. 2 in the ACC standings behind conference-unbeaten Virginia (22-1, 11-0).

In bracket projections, CBS Sports' Jerry Palm held steady Monday with Clemson as a 2-seed in the East regional, paired with No. 1 Villanova and given a friendly opener pod in Charlotte. ESPN moved the Tigers as a 3-seed from the West to the Midwest in an all-Palmetto State battle with College of Charleston. Projections from around the web via Bracket Matrix peg Clemson as a 2-seed on average.

Why have the bracketologists been higher on the Tigers than the pollsters all along? Resume over reputation.

The NCAA Selection Committee has a number of advanced metrics at their disposal that are trimmed down to a list of six that are averaged on a team sheet this year. Clemson’s average moved down to 13.8 over the weekend, with an average of six in result-based metrics like RPI, KPI and ESPN strength of record.

The Tigers own six wins over teams ranked in the top-42 of the KenPom efficiency rankings, led by top-15 victories over UNC (12) and Ohio State (14). In the traditional polls, Clemson has three wins in five games over ranked opponents.

Clemson hosts ACC-winless Pittsburgh (8-16, 0-11) Thursday for a 7 p.m. tip (RSN). Looking further ahead, they play Florida State away (2/14) and home (2/28), which is second-highest ranked team left on the schedule (KenPom: 21) to Feb. 18 home opponent Duke (4). Clemson also travels to Virginia Tech (2/21; KenPom: 41) and Syracuse (3/3; KenPom: 51) and hosts a second date with Georgia Tech (2/24; KenPom: 109).

Clemson moved up four spots in the new AP Poll Monday, up to No. 16.

Clemson NCAA Tournament profile

Record: 19-4 (8-3 ACC)
RPI: 4
Metrics average*: 13.8
Strength of Schedule: 11
Record v. RPI Group 1**: 5-4
Average RPI of Wins: 111
Average RPI of Losses: 26
Bad losses (150+ RPI): None
Record v. current KenPom top-50: 6-2
Top-25 ranked wins (at the time): No. 22 Florida (71-69 at neutral site), No. 18 Miami (72-63 at home), No. 19 UNC (82-78 at home).
Road/neutral record: 7-4
Last 10: 7-3
* Average of result-based metrics RPI, KPI, and ESPN Strength of record plus predictive-based metrics of ESPN BPI, KenPom and Sagarin.
**Home 1-30 RPI rank, neutral site 1-50 rank, away 1-75.

Just for comparison, here's a similar NCAA Tournament resume in the ACC with Duke, which is also drawing 2-seed projections:

Duke NCAA Tournament profile

Record: 19-4 (7-3 ACC)
RPI: 8
Metrics average: 6.7
Strength of Schedule: 23
Record v. RPI Group 1: 4-2
Average RPI of Wins: 112
Average RPI of Losses: 59
Bad losses (150+ RPI): None
Record v. current KenPom top-50: 6-1
Top-25 ranked wins (at the time): No. 2 Michigan State (88-81 at neutral site), No. 7 Florida (87-84 at neutral site), No. 24 Florida State (100-93 at home), No 25 Miami (83-75 on the road).
Road/neutral record: 8-3
Last 10: 7-3

ACC Standings

SCHOOL CONF CPCT. OVERALL PCT. STREAK
Virginia 11-0 1.000 22-1 0.957 W14
Clemson 8-3 0.727 19-4 0.826 W3
Duke 7-3 0.700 19-4 0.826 L1
Miami 6-4 0.600 17-5 0.773 W2
Louisville 6-4 0.600 16-7 0.696 L2
NC State 6-4 0.600 16-7 0.696 W3
Florida State 6-5 0.545 17-6 0.739 W1
North Carolina 6-5 0.545 17-7 0.708 W1
Virginia Tech 5-5 0.500 16-7 0.696 L1
Syracuse 4-6 0.400 15-8 0.652 L2
Boston College 4-6 0.400 14-9 0.609 W1
Georgia Tech 4-6 0.400 11-12 0.478 L1
Notre Dame 3-7 0.300 13-10 0.565 L7
Wake Forest 2-9 0.182 9-14 0.391 L1
Pittsburgh 0-11 0.000 8-16 0.333 L11

* RPI Group 2 is home opponents in the 31-75 ranking range, neutral-site opponents in the 51-100 range and road opponents in the 76-135 range.

(Profile figures via WarrenNolan.com, KenPom.com and ESPN).

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